The Expo 2020 Dubai site.

The Expo 2020 Dubai site.

BIE proposes Expo 2020 one-year postponement

May 2020

The Executive Committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has unanimously agreed to propose the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai to be held from October 1 next year to March 31, 2022.

Since changing the dates of an Expo requires the support of a two-thirds majority of member states of the BIE (Article 28 of the Paris Convention of 1928), the General Assembly will now be called upon to vote on the panel’s recommendation.

According to BIE, voting was due to be carried out remotely between April 24 and May 29. Members of the Committee – delegates of 12 member states elected by the BIE’s General Assembly – met virtually on April 21 to examine the change in dates requested by the UAE government.

 This request was made after a meeting of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee last month, in which participating countries expressed the need to postpone the Expo’s opening in order to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assessing the unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 on public health, economic activity and global restrictions on movement, the Executive Committee unanimously recommended approving the UAE’s request to postpone the Expo, and to retain the name “Expo 2020 Dubai”. 

Considering the practical impossibility of holding a General Assembly, the member states will be asked to cast their vote remotely by May 29. Should the motion receive a two-thirds majority of eligible and voting member states, the dates of Expo 2020 Dubai will be officially changed to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Dimitri S Kerkentzes, the Secretary General of BIE, said: “World Expos are collective endeavours that express the shared international goal of progress for all humankind. I am confident that when the time is right, Expo 2020 Dubai will constitute the best platform to build, with renewed optimism and hope, a better and brighter future for all.”

Alain Berger, delegate of France and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the BIE, said: “The UAE’s willingness to listen to participating countries and its pragmatism to take the necessary steps towards postponement demonstrate yet again its strong commitment to hosting a truly inclusive and inspirational World Expo.”

 The Executive Committee of the BIE fully supports the UAE’s request for postponement and recommends that countries around the world reach the same consensus, he stated.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, welcomed the BIE panel’s recommendation for postponement of Expo 2020 for a year.

Kerkentzes said with this move, the official process for agreeing a delay had now begun.  

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